Our professional practices class watched Waiting for Superman last week during class. This movie was similar to The Lottery, but for me had a much different reaction to Waiting. When we watched The Lottery, I was sad for the kids in film waiting to hear if they had won their charter school lottery in hopes for a chance at a better education. While viewing Waiting for Superman, I felt more angry. Angry about the statistics given about graduation rates, angry about the low number of poorly performing tenured teachers being fired, and just overall frustration about the education system in our country as a whole.
But then my next thought was how lucky I’ve been that I never became one of those statistics. I attended public school in northern Indiana and went to a district that was considered one of the top in the state. I was involved in extracurricular and co-curricular activities that enriched my high school experience and made me a well-rounded student. My parents pushed me to be the best student I could. Not attending college was not an option. Neither of my parents went to college, so they knew the importance of having a college degree and a career instead of merely having a job. I remember when I was a teenager my mother telling me I needed to get a degree before getting married, and that if I were to get married before graduating, my parents wouldn’t pay for the wedding or the rest of my education. It’s sort of a funny “threat” now, but my parents just wanted me to be educated and independent.
I was blessed to live in a great neighborhood with good schools. I am blessed to be able to attend college and am working on Bachelor’s degree number two now. I am blessed to have parents that stopped at nothing to give me a good education and a good base for being a successful and independent woman. But I know not everyone has had the same fortune as I’ve had. This is where I feel my responsibility lies…to help those who haven’t had the same fortune. I don’t always understand why some people are given the upper hand and others are given the short end of the stick, but my goal is to help level out that uneven playing field.